Devon Police Numbers Set To Fall (October 26th, 2010)

October 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

Devon and Cornwall Police warn Government cuts of 20 percent over 4 years will mean 700 fewer police on the beat and cuts of 300 in support staff. The reductions will take police numbers in Devon and Cornwall down to levels last seen in 2003 before Labour boosted police numbers to cut crime.

At the same time the Government appears determined to impose elected police commissioners on an unenthusiastic public. That will waste another 1.3 million for the elections alone (the equivalent of 50 officers) and then there will be support staff and salaries on top. How will an elected police commissioner be able to represent properly the very diverse communities of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly? I am also concerned that this will lead to the politicisation of the police, ending centuries of independence. It’s clear that Liberal Democrats, including those in the South West don’t support this, but like so many of the damaging things this Government is doing they look set to just nod it through.

Does the Coalition Government have a Plan B? (October 25th, 2010)

October 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

The Con-Lib Government’s policies already appear to be having a highly negative impact on economic growth – notwithstanding David Cameron’s warm words to the CBI today.

It’s widely predicted that tomorrow’s provisional growth figures for the 3rd quarter will show a dramatic slowing from the first half of the year.This will be as a direct result of the disastrous emergency budget after the election and retrenchment by individuals, private and public bodies and the rest of the Government’s relentlessly pessimistic austerity gloom.

This is exactly what Labour and most economists have been warning about. Cut too far and too deep and you hit growth, costs jobs and ensure the long terms cost of reducing the deficit is greater than it need have been.
What is particularly scary about the Government’s approach is they don’t appear to have a plan B. They appear lashed to the mast of fiscal austerity whatever happens – even if growth continues to plummet.

How long can the Liberal Democrats – who were out and proud Keynesians before the election – continue to stomach such madness?

CSR – Reaction (October 25th, 2010)

October 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

Devon and Cornwall will be among the worst hit counties in England by Wednesday’s comprehensive spending review according to today’s Financial Times.

This confirms something some of us have been saying for some time, that because of our large elderly population, relatively low wages and higher than average proportion of public sector jobs the Westcountry will be hit hard by the ConLib Government’s policies.

The elderly tend to use public services like the NHS and social care more, so are likely to be more affected by cuts to these services. Also, people on low incomes depend on Government support in the form of tax credits or pension credit so will be hit more by cuts to the welfare budget.

At the same time, with the Government’s spin machine going into overdrive in the last few days – briefing out that schools spending will be protected as well as the NHS and cuts in defence less severe than expected, I wonder whether the Government’s bloodcurdling warnings of the last few months have been some massive softening up exercise, so that when the numbers are announced, they won’t be as ghastly as everyone’s expecting. If they protect more areas, they are either going to hit the unprotected departments even harder or admit that Labour has been right all along and the speed and degree of deficit reduction is not just unnecessary, but potentially damaging.